Day Break is a prototype for an interactive projection mapping designed to transform industrial space. Large media works are commonly associated with being located in the social or gentrified centers of cities. However, unique industrial architecture can play a big role in engaging the public if properly implemented. Day Break tests this using the distinctive shape of a local Lethbridge landmark, and transforms it’s historical context into a work of interactive cinema.
Using existing Architecture as inspiration, DayBreak uses a scale model of a structure for a projection mapped display. The display makes use of user input to transform the apparent material structure of the model, to reveal a progression of Southern Alberta’s energy technologies. This starts from the coal mining industry, which established Lethbridge’s growth out of the river bottom in the late 19th Century. The second video tier moves to the oil boom, which has dominated the region’s growth for much of the 20th and early 21st Century. The final tier evolves to today’s push for renewable energy, which is mainly centered on harnessing wind energy in the region.
The model itself reflects the industry in Southern Alberta. Agriculture is one of the main industries in the region, and has made a visual impact in Lethbridge. One example is the Alberta Terminals grain terminal, which at 17-storey’s has remained the tallest building in Lethbridge since 1931. This is iconic, as one does not normally think of an industrial building being the tallest building in a city.
Both energy and agriculture are merged for this work, as both create a similarity but tension with each other. Both industries have evolved technologically over the years, but the grain terminal itself hasn’t changed. In contrast, energy enrichment has changed dramatically, as the method used for power production shifts from one resources to another over time. The grain terminal has been present for all three of these shifts, which as displayed within it.
The purpose for choosing an older building for a projection mapping work is to show that urban settings can easily be revitalized, without having to remove existing aspects of it. In this work, light is being used as a new visual material, emulating the existing ones and modifying them based on user experience. Advances in projector technology have made this a much more feasible component to add to urban environments, and allows for New Media to be greater explored in the field of Architecture.
The process of this work was to identify an iconic building with visual and historical interest. Through reference photos, the building is recreated in REVIT and Rhino. The final 3D model is then 3D printed into components and assembled. Using Video Projection Tool 7 (VPT7), images are mapped onto the building, and made dynamic through pairing with Arduino. The current reference of the building is stitched onto 2D drawings of the REVIT model, then brought into Adobe After Effects for animation. This animation is controlled through sliders on the Arduino/Firefly sliders. Recorded images are also stitched together, and rendered out. This background layer is set behind the existing images of the building.
Through this work I hope to show the potential of emerging media technologies use in bettering our environment and preserving our history. As well, create an engaging platform that will draw in and somehow educate the public through art and technology.